Denai Moore’s third album, Modern Dread, is a hypnotising production of blended genres and powerful vocals.
British-Jamaican singer songwriter Denai Moore became known to us when she was a guest vocalist on SBTRKT’s album Wonder Where We Land. Since then, Moore has released three albums and has been marked as a rising figure in the music industry.
Having referred to her own music as ‘genre-free’ in the past, Modern Dread definitely brings this into practice. With elements of the indie genre mixed in with soul, electronic and countless other styles that can be traced throughout the tracks, Moore has painted herself as a diverse artist who can bring much more to the table and doesn’t allow herself to be defined by a structured sound. There are no restrictions with Moore’s music.
Moore’s vocals are ethereal, sometimes contrasting with the futuristic sounds of her songs, such as in Too Close, the opening track of the album. With a voice soft and delicate overlaid over an electronic sound, listening to Modern Dread is a journey of twists and turns. It would be easy to say that the vocals and the basslines do not match and should not co-exist, but Moore has created a sound that allows these differences to come together in a perfect harmony.
There is passion and love in Moore’s lyrics. Wishin’ You Better and Cascades show her lyrical genius, but the beautiful lyrics span over the entirety of the album, not stopping at just a couple of the songs. There is no song that falls short of telling a story. Although not always so heavenly, and sometimes dark and longing in her words, Moore tells a consistent narrative that is accessible to any listener. Her lyrics do not need to battle with the backing sounds to be heard – they stand out and they are an entity of their own.
Modern Dread is a success for Moore, speaking her talent and skill in volumes. The album invites genres to mingle together, allows for soulful vocals to go up against electronic beats and creates a new sound in the industry that oversteps boundaries and keeps pushing for the next best thing in music. Moore has set herself up as one to be watched with this new album and it is without doubt that her albums to follow will continue to push notions that are fresh and exciting.